The East African Community on the right track to reduce non-tariff barriers

East African countries have reduced non-tariff barriers (NTBs) the last five years, this according to a TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) statement. TMEA is an East African not-for profit organisation established in 2010 to support the growth of international and regional trade.

The reduction of NTBs provides an opportunity for increased trade in the East African Community (EAC) and holds the promise of a speedy integration for member states. NTBs remain a stumbling block for Africa integration, where countries face barriers, such as customs documentation and limited standardisation of formalities.

TMEA cites the example of transporting a container from Mombasa to Kigali. In 2011, the transport rate of a 40-foot container was $6,500, where in 2015 the rate fell to $4,800.

The average import duration went down by 14% to 31 days. For East Africa’s numerous landlocked countries, the lead times are significantly longer. However, in landlocked Burundi, the import duration was reduced from 60 days to 43 days.

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